Becker County helps with flood fight, prepares to accept evacuees from Fargo-Moorhead

Local officials have waded in and rolled up their sleeves to help with the flood fight in Fargo-Moorhead, and Becker County is now preparing to accept evacuees if necessary.

Local officials have waded in and rolled up their sleeves to help with the flood fight in Fargo-Moorhead, and Becker County is now preparing to accept evacuees if necessary.

Becker County Transit buses made four trips to Fargo-Moorhead today to pick up nursing home residents being evacuated as a safety precaution.

Two Ecumen assisted living communities in Fargo and Moorhead evacuated 60 residents and sent them to Emmanuel Community, another Ecumen community in Detroit Lakes.

At Emmanuel, the kitchen staff was gearing up to serve extra residents, and staff was looking to scrounge up additional beds.

Several other Ecumen communities in northwestern Minnesota were preparing to take in 32 residents of Eventide Senior Living in Moorhead.


They'll be relocated to Ecumen homes including Sunnyside Nursing Home in Lake Park, as well as homes in Alexandria, Park Rapids, and Pelican Rapids.

St. Mary's Innovis Health's senior living community, Oak Crossing, has also received 16 residents from Eventide Nursing Home, and stands ready to provide more help if needed.

Becker County Transit is serving its regular customers as well as running emergency transportation for flood relief, said Rusty Haskins, emergency management director for Becker County.

"We request patience from our other transit customers," he said "We're doing the best we can with the resources we have ... emergencies take priority."

The National Guard Armory in Detroit Lakes will be used as an emergency shelter if the need arises in Fargo-Moorhead, and the Detroit Lakes Middle School gymnasium could also be used if necessary, Haskins said.

Administration from both Eventide and Oak

Crossing worked closely to ensure a safe transport of residents, according to Christy Brinkman, Administrator of Oak Crossing.

"We have procedures in place to handle these types of emergencies," she said, "and our first priority is to make sure residents arrive here safely ... we are equipped and ready to take care of them."


St. Mary's Innovis Health is also working closely with regional hospitals in planning a potential evacuation of Fargo-Moorhead hospitals.

"As part of our emergency preparedness plan, we are in close contact with our regional response coordinator, reporting our bed availability," said Tom Thompson, CEO at St. Mary's Innovis Health.

"We are on standby to assist our colleagues to the west in whatever capacity we can," he added.

Local law enforcement has also been helping out in Moorhead. The Detroit Lakes Police Department has organized daily bus trips to carry volunteers to and from Moorhead.

The bus picks up at the Frazee Community Center at 5 p.m. and the Detroit Lakes Police Department at 5:30 p.m. every day - dress for outdoors work, bring bottled water and a spade with your name on it. The bus will eave Moorhead to return home by 9:30 p.m. at the latest.

At this point, there will be a bus today and Friday evening, and possibly a bus leaving Saturday morning, too.

Tune to DL-Online and local radio for updated information.

Rest for the weary


Four Becker County deputies have been assisting Clay County deputies from 20 to 24 hours a day with traffic control, general law enforcement and flood emergency work, said Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon.

The four are worked into a schedule and regular law enforcement work in Becker County is going on as usual, he said.

"The big concern is traffic," Gordon said. "It's horrendous, the roads are in terrible condition because of the storm."

Law enforcement officers in Fargo-Moorhead have been stretched for five days with flood preparation work, the last few days working in cold, snowy conditions, and they are grateful for the break that Becker County deputies provide, Gordon said.

"Our inmates are up there sandbagging," some 18 inmates and STS members and crewmembers have been involved with the effort, he said.

Becker County is also ready to accept Clay County inmates if they must be evacuated, Gordon said.

Also, the kitchen service at the Becker County Jail is operated by the same company as in Clay County, and the two jails have been coordinating efforts.

"We're using resources here to prepare and ship to Moorhead," Gordon said. "They have hundreds of people to serve there."


The county has offered to make its boats available if needed -- two can be sent immediately and the county has five boats in all that could be sent to Fargo-Moorhead or elsewhere if needed, Gordon said.

"What we did last fall with the disaster drill showing how different entities can work together -- here it is in real life," Gordon said. "We want to be ahead of the (disaster) plan the whole way," he added. "It's working out pretty well so far."

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